News and Events
In-Person and Remote Advising Available
The Department of Linguistics will be open most days, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Please see our Faculty and Staff page for office hours and contact information.
Drop-in linguistics tutoring will continue in fall of 2023.
The Department of Linguistics at Western Washington University is inviting applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor, beginning September 2024.
In our courses here at Western, we are interested in the ways in which the study of language can provide the tools, the analytical skills, and the historical and cultural context to better understand the ways in which language is used to separate, segregate, and discriminate.
It’s important to us that our department is not only a welcoming place for everyone, intolerant of discrimination, but that we are actively working to dismantle power structures that serve to discriminate against underrepresented populations.
Welcome Prospective and Incoming Students
It’s the best possible combination of fields – math, cognitive science, formal logic, anthropology, etc. It’s impossible to get bored and there’s always something to learn.
Western's Department of Linguistics can lead students not only to find interesting and engaging careers and jobs but also to give back to their communities in important ways. Our alumni are teaching, creating, writing, analyzing, and serving in a vast array of careers and civic engagement.
We now have a cohort of about 170 students, and an eager and active Associated Students Linguistics Club. Faculty from several departments contribute to our department, including from Modern and Classical Languages, Anthropology, and Computer Science.
We want to hear from you. If you have news to share, email us at email@example.com or call us at 360-650-3914.
Royce Gibson is a consummate scholar. Faculty comment that he is “academically brilliant,” “a fantastic researcher,” “kind,” and “modest” He is extremely enthusiastic, and always challenges himself. Royce participates above and beyond; he is very eager to learn and takes course assignments and projects to the next step. In addition to being a “true scholar”, a term several faculty used to describe Royce, he is also an intuitive teacher. Many faculty note that Royce contributes to a collaborative learning environment. “He makes great observations and shares them with the class,” several note, but in an unassuming and very helpful way. He is a simply superb student with a depth and breadth of knowledge and a sincere desire to keep learning.Royce Gibson2022-2023 Department of Linguistics Outstanding Graduating Senior
Fulbright U.S. Award Recipients
Congratulations to WWU Linguistics Alums Nathan Bucker (Germany) and Molly DeLeo (Germany)
2022-2023 Department of Linguistics Exceptional Student Awardees
Abigail Landaverde - Glory Busic - Carlisle Van Leuven
2022-2023 Exceptional Student in Spanish-Linguistics Awardee
2023-2024 Denham Family Linguistics Student Scholarship Awardee
2023-2024 Shaw Gynan Memorial Scholarship Awardee
2023-2024 Linguistics Student Scholarship Awardees
Ilsa O’Rollins - Red Sheets
Linguistics Department Scholars Week Presenters 2023
- “Mauwake Focus Markers”
- “Internalized Attitudes: African American English Speakers and African American English”
- “Negation in Korean Syntax”
- “Korean Modality”
- “Topic and Focus Phrases in Pite Saami”
- “Warao Determiners and Their Phrase Structure”
- “Simplifying the Syntactic Theory of Minimalism”
- “Strategies of Disjunction in Ket”
- “Language and Identity in the Transgender Community of Tumblr”
- “Inventory of Modal Auxiliaries in Irish”
Thatch Trautmann - Co-author/language consultant J.R. Manríquez
- “Nominalization in Numu (Northern Paiute)”
Edward Vajda was recently interviewed by by radio host Charles McCullough in a podcast titled "Comparing Siberian Ket language to Native American languages"
Edward Vajda, who teaches linguistics, Russian, and Eurasian studies in Western’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Heinrich Werner, the world's foremost expert on Yeniseic (Yeniseian) languages, sought to create a comparative-historical Yeniseian dictionary that is readily accessible to English speakers.
Western Professor of Linguistics Kristin Denham and Assistant Professor of Linguistics Jordan Sandoval have published a new book that introduces the study of language for undergraduate and beginning graduate students who would like to further their linguistics studies.
Edward Vajda, professor of linguistics, Russian, and Eurasian Studies in Western’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, along with his long-time colleague Michael Fortescue (professor emeritus, University of Copenhagen), have published a new book, Mid-Holocene Language Connections between Asia and North America.
Professor of Linguistics Dr. Anne Lobeck was inducted into the 2021 class of Fellows of the Linguistics Society of America.
Western's Dr. Kristin Denham chosen as the LSA's featured member for April 2020.
About the Linguistics Department
Linguistics is the scientific study of language. There are many ways to pursue the study of language, and as in any scientific discipline, researchers have varied goals, distinct questions to pose, and different directions of research. Some linguists study the grammar, or rule system, of language, and others are more interested in the social factors, such as gender, age, ethnicity and other variables, that influence how we use language. Still others study how languages change over time, how children acquire language, or how our brains process and produce language. Communication in today’s complex society requires knowledge of the workings of language in general and of specific languages as well as their interrelationship with their respective cultures. All Linguistics majors are expected to acquire knowledge of the workings of language at various levels and demonstrate data analysis and other methodological techniques used to study language. A student of linguistics will thereby significantly advance their understanding of linguistic and cultural diversity and will have the tools to work in and across disciplines to explore questions related to language, and to therefore understand and advance what it means to be human.